Early 19th Century Timber Boat

Conservation and 3D Digital Modelling

During monitoring of the dredging operations in January 2019 for the installation of scour protection on the north bank for the new Windsor Bridge rock armour, timber planks and frames were discovered. A series of underwater surveys were undertaken by Cosmos Archaeology which located an upside-down keel assembly, along with other loose timbers. The keel and timbers were excavated and recorded. During recording of these elements, it was determined that there were in fact three separate vessels: UHRW02, UHRW03 and UHRW04.

Boat Salvage

The UHRW02 comprises the remains of a carvel built timber vessel. What has survived is approximately 95% of the total length of the keel with an attached keelson and mast step. Three frames were attached to the keel/keelson, and one other frame was attached to an individual plank.  There was approximately 36 planks and 22 frames recovered from a wider area up to 30 m from the keel, most of which were recovered towards the middle of the river and downstream of the keel. The vessel was located upside down, with the keelson buried in the sand. The aft end of the keel was exposed.

The keel was a single length of timber 17 ½ feet (5.3 m) long x 3 ½ inches (90 mm) wide and 7 ½ inches (190 mm) deep. It was estimated that 95% of the keel was present with the aft end sternpost joint missing. There was evidence of square/rectangular nail holes in the top surface of the keel at the bow which indicated the position and size of the stem knee fixture. There was also part of a stem component remaining at the bow indicating the stem curvature. 

Timber samples were taken from the keel and were confirmed to be the timber Eucalyptus saligna commonly known as Sydney Blue Gum.